Hargreaves Lansdown suffered a 24 per cent drop in new business in the second half of last year, blaming market volatility and weak investor confidence for the downturn.
The investment platform said net new business in the six months ending 31 December fell 24 per cent on the previous year to £2.53bn, sending shares down six per cent – the sharpest faller on the FTSE 100.
Total assets also fell six per cent to £85.9bn, down from £91.6bn at the end of June as external market conditions damaged investor confidence, it said.
The company’s own investor confidence index dropped to its lowest point since it was launched in 1995.
But revenue grew nine per cent to £236.4m over the period and, with a further 45,000 clients joining, the firm said it was well placed to capitalise once conditions improve.
The FTSE 100 and stock markets around the world endured a tumultuous end to 2018, culminating in a December rout on Wall Street.
Trade tensions between the US and China and a slowdown in Chinese growth have weighed on markets.
Chief executive Chris Hill said: “The diversified nature of Hargreaves Lansdown has enabled us to continue growing despite a period of geopolitical uncertainty, market volatility and weak investor confidence.”
When it came to the next six months, Hill said it was traditionally the stronger half of the financial year but that Brexit had thrown a spanner in the works.
He said: “Investor sentiment and stock market levels are usually key to the levels of new business but this year has the added complication of Brexit.
“Such uncertainty during our busiest time of the year is clearly not helpful for predicting new flows and business volumes, but we will be prepared operationally to deal with any outcome.”